Tuesday, 29 September 2015 13:55

Sharp BIG PAD – an 80” collaboration tool

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Sharp’s new Big Pad is a clever device – it’s a very, very large, 80” touch, full HD (1920x1080), LCD monitor at substantially less than Microsoft’s 84” Surface Hub – although that is probably not a fair comparison.

Sharp’s BIG PAD PN-80TC3 requires a companion Windows computer, Android or iOS device, and acts as a 10 point touch monitor. Its claim to fame is the Featherlight Touch that makes it similar to writing or drawing on a whiteboard.

It supports four different users – each needs a different wireless digitiser pen, and the Sharp software enables write, share, display, PowerPoint control, and a touch user interface.

The 80” screen, capacitive touch screen was a challenge. Traditional smaller capacitive touch screens rely on using an Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) coated layer between the glass substrates to detect the position of the pen or finger of the user.  However, at large screen sizes, ITO coatings are not sufficient for precise positional measurements. To solve this issue in the past, touch was achieved by using the, less accurate, IR camera method where a mesh of IR beams would detect where the user was pointing.

Sharp engineers created a new technique using a unique metal mesh to augment the detection process and increase sensitivity and precision. The result is a 10-point touch screen that has no lag time and feels natural to use. Up to four people can also write on the screen at the same time using an included wireless Digitiser Pen. It has a 176 degree field of view.

The PN-80TC3 inputs include 3 X HDMI, 2 x D-sub, DisplayPort 1.1a, 100Mbs Ethernet as well as a 3.5 mm headphone jack and a USB connector in the pen tray. It has a DisplayPort for daisy chaining other DP monitors. The is also two 10W speakers.

"Enabling innovative collaboration opportunities is the primary focus for the new Big Pad PN-80TC3," Halim Saliman, Sharp Corporation of Australia senior product manager, commented.

Who will use it?

Obviously, the education market is big – it is a powerful collaboration as teaching tool. The computer can save digital copies and send to all students. "Connecting 50 users [in a class room for example] at once makes it a perfect learning tool, with teachers and students sharing and creating like never before,” said Saliman.

It is also aimed at business where a traditional electronic white boards are just glorified page copiers. When used in office meetings, the advanced features can be used to create high-impact demonstrations or better communicate the messaging of a presentation. Everything can be sent to participants afterwards.

It can also be one big TV screen on Melbourne Cup day!

Cost is A$19,995.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw [email protected]  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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